Smooth Talker: Ted Holman is a longtime CLASS instructor and many of you know him from schools over the years. Listen up while Ted shares some of his thoughts on being smooth...
Smoothness. If there was ever a blanket theme for me in riding, this is it. Everything you do on a motorcycle should have the goal of being done as smoothly as physically possible for you. This starts from the moment you swing your leg over the saddle, to the action of the controls, to the line we choose to ride, to the method we control our bodies while negotiating transitions, to the very moment we stop the bike and finally dismount.
I practice being smooth every time I am on a bike. I practice smoothly rolling on and off the throttle, smoothly applying the brakes, smoothly releasing them, smoothly moving my body and weight to the inside of the turn, picking my line of sight—everything that has a direct effect on the control of the motorcycle is done smoothly. Although motorcycles are inanimate objects, they react to us exactly as we treat them. If you grab at the controls or jump around in the saddle, the bike is going to get even—usually when you want the most out of it during a panic situation—and will do its best to toss you off.
To show what I am talking about, over the years I have demonstrated this with students at the track in a pretty physical manner. While standing in front of them, I ask which of these two methods of moving them feels best. First I strike them with pretty good force on their shoulder. I can promise you nobody likes it. Next I push gradually, but with a smooth pressure on the same spot with the normal effect of moving that person to the point where I run out of reach.
It is this clear with the control of your motorcycle. Force will be greeted with an equal reaction. Smooth, gradual input will be tolerated and accepted. To me, this is the concept of smooth and neutral direction control in a nutshell. You should never stop practicing being smooth, not ever!
Hope to see you at the track!